By the time we got to the hospital, which was a 200 meter stroll from our living room to the birthing ward, Lover was already 4cms dialated. I was thrown out for the epidural. Every twenty minutes our midwife came in a checked, 6cms 8cms 9cms and into action. It was over very fast. A push and already I could see the hair, another push there was a little more hair, another push and Elisa just squeezed out of her Mother and then with a burst of oceans of fluids of yellows reds whites, my daughter spilled her self onto the bed and into the midwifes hands. It was 1130pm on the 27th Jan 2009 and Boys sister is born. Lover had some slight discomfort but no pain. This is the calmest birth one could have imagined or hoped for. Welcome child, and well done Mother.
Lover looks tired poor baby, Contractions now every 5 or so minutes. She doesn't want to ring the midwife or go to the hospital. She is anxious they will tell her to stay where she is. For my book 5 minute spaces having had contractions for over 24 hours is travel time. It's literally 100 meters the other side of the road, but I am not putting pressure on. Just want her to be able to get accross the road. So she will ring in a few minutes, she is holding on as long as possible.
So, we have been to the Supermarket. I was thinking the walking might stimulate some action. We went to bed both of us, and slept fitfully. We had lunch. Plenty of PASTA for the work involved later on. Walking around, Contraction watching TV, Contraction, snoozing Contraction, Cup of Tea Contraction. Mid Wife told us to stay Put. I agree. Baby will come soon but not before sun down. It's slow annoying for Lover. She wants it to Hurry up now. She is feeling a bit schizo, wants to lie down and can't it hurts too much. Wants to be up and about but can't it hurts. She is doing really really good. It's really slow and really calm. I don't think I will be sleeping tonight.
So the expression I was looking for in English, was, she has had a show! It's a very old ladies way of saying she bled a little. Water has been dripping....contractions are stronger but still not like I have witnessed before with many women. Well okay 2 or 3! My 80 year old ex mid wife mother is thrilled. The Italian families are very happy. Contractions are now every 6-8 minutes but not regular not as strong as either of us thought. I am wondering if we should go over to be on the safe side.
I knew it would take a while. The contractions that started yesterday after noon come in 20 minute intervals sharper and longer each time, there has been some blood as the...... Stopper? I just can't remember the word, has been ejected, and lately just a little fluid loss. It's probably 24 hours now, Lover is exhausted but not sleepy. I am so Sleepy. I don't touch or get in the way, but I check in constantly asking if she is okay. Lunch will soon. I am sure I will write less and less as it gets more near the time. Something is now telling me 9pm tonight will be important. Already she wants it finished. What can I do only sit and watch and wait and love, and be really thrilled at this miracle happening for us?
Sent back from the hospital, contractions regular 20 mins, but Lover seems more in discomfort than pain. This could be long. She is managing. She is very tired. Noisy neighbours lost our sleep at the weekend and now she hasn't really slept right in about 5 days..... Will update when there is news or changes.
I have recently realised that cultures, although close geographically, can be vastly different. For the foreigner, the stranger, the visitor, these differences may seem wonderous things at times. After all a change is good, almost as good if not even better than a rest. Differences that are celebrated are differences that are enjoyed.
However for the foreigner who installs himself or herself in the culture in question many of these differences, as I have already pointed out result in stress. The fault of the stress is of course how the stranger chooses to deal or react with the issues of difference. If the unhealthy choice is made, the result is illness, ill at ease, frustration, tension, resulting often in anger, or confidence being shattered. Trust me on this I speak both from observation and personal experience.
The remedy is to either bugger off back to where one has come from or, find new strategies for dealing with life. After all why would the strategies that served so well in one culture be assumed to be okay in other? It makes no sense that they should.
There are some differences however that are just baffling. They are not so much stress inducing but leave the observer feeling dumbfounded, lost, scratching their head in a complete lack of comprehension. These interactions are often those which result in a person just throwing their hands up in the air and walking away!
Some of the things I am beginning to notice that for me are fundamental differences,and absolute head scratchers, revolve around baby. Baby is not even born, and I don't think there has been one person who hasn't asked, "...is it a boy or a girl?". I reiterate tirelessly that IT, first and foremost, is a person. IT, I am sure, has no concept of the roles of men and women in this culture or any other, and there for to be branded male or female at this point in time, is a spurious concept. A concept that results in brain washing our young to perpeptuate the inherent, inbred violence we do to one another, in our cultural assigning of roles, just by not thinking.
I am pretty sure that eight years ago in another culture, also branded 'western' but with a nod towards the spiritual that is more evident than here, I was perhaps asked that boy girl question perhaps twice in the 9 months. Everyone here knows the sex of their child long before it is born. I would never want to know.
This however is a small thing. But it leads me to remark on other differences, differences I find hard to celebrate. A friend of ours is 30. She is 7 weeks pregnant. She has already told quite a few people. I have seen this before. It's very unusual to hear at home that someone is pregnant so early on. I guess it's driven by a little caution and a little fear and a little practicality. Too much can go wrong certainly with the first pregnancy, in the first 3 months. So this difference makes me fear for the lady who imparts the information. If nature decides to take a course which doesn't result in a life, then the pain of having to face all those you have informed is harder.
During the conversation breast feeding came up. For those who don't know what that is, it's lactation apparently. France is not big on the boob that is for sure. When it is discussed, medically, in English they use the word lactation. I scratch my head again! This lady's explanation for not breastfeeding was the breasts are sexual and it was going to be a non starter. Our mid wife filled us in a week later. Breast feeding is very uncommon in france. In the South, there seems to be a lot of people who have children, don't breast feed, and give the child its own room within a couple of days. I have seen this happen and put it down to the individual. My personal culture is common sleeping. Everyone in the same bed and let's have a cuddle. I picture it now with boy when he cuddles up, as if we are two tigers or bears in the wild, lots of body contact, reassurance, confidence and love.
I am speechless when I see people who refer to giving the breast as being like a cow. Humans are after all the only mamals who give other mamals milk to their young! Cows don't give their calves human milk.
In this culture here, people are more comfortable to talk about sex, to refer to each other as sexual objects. I often think if it was the USA or even Ireland a lot of folk would be loosing their jobs through sexual harrasement. I am wondering is the awareness of sexuality, or even dare I say it, the forcing of people into sexually defined roles, as opposed to roles defined by gender, affecting how people sexualise childbirth, and child rearing.
I am wondering about the 'break down' in society, where people seem to consider no one except themselves. Respect for your neighbour is at best ignoring them and at worst not giving a damn about them. Could these issues be sourced from a lack of decent boob time when we are young?
I am not saying the problems in society that I witness here, don't exist at home. Of course they do. From what I hear, Ireland has recently become a cesspit of selfishness and racism but it's a relatively new development. I wonder if allowing more children to cuddle up to mother and father, encouraging more women to maintain the role of being a mother, without being sexist about it, giving the breast, hugging, holding.
I am amazed that our midwife, refers to me as English all the time, holds up the English system as an Ideal, when I know nothing about it whatsoever, and persists in asking me questions about it. But that aside from that, she is what I would want for my child, an earthy practical woman, who gives off very down to earth yet sensual aura.
It is certain that women here, in this day and age, don't seem to have the support of their peers, the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, seem to be distant from the individual experience. This she reiterates to us consistently.
The men seem to mainly fulfill a role I associated with the 1950's. Many don't want to be at the birth. It's a womans place they think. I for one can't imagine not being there. I can't imagine my child being in another room and I can't imagine my child not being breast feed given that there is nothing medical preventing it happening. It makes me scratch my head to think otherwise. What I find almost impossible, is that the mother will be kept in hospital 4 days, the child will be kept in a nursery and no siblings under the age of 15 allowed anyhwere near the ward. That is just too inhuman for me. But then maybe I don't have the correct life strategy!
This goes out to all who have passed by and read. Those who have commented thank you! So some special mentions and I know I will leave someone out so I am sorry but here goes. Firstly Gillette Who walks her talk. Whom I admire for her journey, her courage for sticking with it, and seeing it through. And although she is sometimes afraid she gets the hell on with it. I am sure her cooking is amazing and other things that she does too. She is a great woman.
K8, who reminds me what it is like where I come from. Who is a great laugh and takes life by the balls and squeezes.
Krista who is a great artist and photographer, Moni who is just fun, is a great mom, and even though our politics are different we see eye to eye on a lot.
Then two others whom I am not going to link to but they are still in the side bar. Miss T and Miss Monica, both great doers, great sports people, whom I admire and need guidance from.
Happy New Year to all of you who have come to read thank you, and to all who have left a comment, thanks even more. Have fun! Click on the photo if you can't see it clearly :-)